A whole country ham may start out tough and moldy, but this recipe tames it into delicious submission.
Yield: serves 20-25
- 1 whole country ham
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 cups apple juice
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup bread crumbs
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- Cut off 4–6 inches of the hock and use it to flavor greens or black-eyed peas. Next, cut about 8 1⁄4"-thick slices for Fried Ham and Redeye Gravy; you will need a hacksaw to cut through the bone (or ask your butcher to do it).
- Place remaining ham in a large pot, add vinegar and enough cold water to cover, and soak overnight.
- Drain and rinse ham, then scrub with a stiff brush, and rinse again. Return ham to pot, add apple juice, sugar, and water to cover. Simmer over low heat for 3 1⁄2 to 6 1⁄2 hours (15–20 minutes per pound). Remove pot from heat. Let ham rest in cooking liquid until cool enough to handle but still warm.
- Trim rind and most, but not all, external fat. Mix together bread crumbs, brown sugar, and pepper in a bowl. Rub mixture over exterior of ham while it is still warm; it will harden as ham cools. Slice ham thinly when cool; serve on Hot Crusty Buttermilk Biscuits, if you like.